Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.


Going to Jesus

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Thought for the Morning

The Great Sin, Part 1

Hey John,

I was reading Hebrews last weekend and came across 6:4. I spoke to Sammy about it and later on Saturday night to Lou. She added verse 26 in chapter 10. We were all of the consensus of asking you about these verses. Are the verses related and who might fit into this category? Thanks.

Bro Jim K.


Hi Jim:

Many of God’s children, early in their walk with God, want to know to whom those dreadful verses from Hebrews 6:4-6 apply. Often, they (needlessly) fear that they might apply to them.

Hebrews 6:4-6 speaks of sin that is unforgivable, but only for certain people. This sin could be any sin that is committed after one has “tasted of the heavenly gift” and “partaken of the holy ghost” and “tasted of the good word of God”, but also after that he has been “enlightened” (which many who are born again certainly are not). Further, this sin must be committed after a child of God has “tasted of the powers of the world to come”. Just a few children of God ever meet those qualifications.

Hebrews 10:26-27 also deals with this kind of transgression, adding, importantly, the attitude that actually makes the sin unpardonable. This fatal attitude is committing sin, as the OT would say, “with a high hand”, or as we would say, arrogantly. There was no atoning sacrifice provided for in the Old Testament for a sinner who knew he was sinning and willfully sinned anyway. This verse in Hebrews 10 reveals to us that the same holds true in the NT, that God still will not forgive sin that is willfully committed by someone who is close to God. That is sobering to consider.

In other words, to commit an “unforgivable sin”, one must first meet some very high conditions.

Consider Judas. Very few of God’s children qualify to be a Judas. Judas knew Christ intimately. If he had not, he could not have led the mob to Jesus’ secret place of prayer. Judas had certainly been anointed with “the power of the world to come”. Though Judas was not born again (at that time nobody was), he belonged to God, being a Jew living under the Law. He belonged to God and had been chosen and anointed by God with power. Judas knew not to do what he did, and so, his sin would not be forgiven because he was too close to God to get by with it. (“To whom much is given, much shall be required.”)

Annas and Caiaphas, for another example, were not granted repentance either; their sin in willfully murdering Jesus, in spite of their knowing the Law’s condemnation of their unjust actions, provoked God too much. Their knowledge of the Law of God damned them.

Moses did not lose his soul, of course, but God did not forgive him for hitting the rock God told him to speak to. For punishment, God refused to allow Moses to enter the Promised Land, and when Moses pleaded with God to change His mind, God sternly commanded Moses to stop praying about it. On the other hand, if the only thing that the rest of the Israelites had ever done wrong in the wilderness was to hit a rock, God would have been very well pleased with them. He even forgave Aaron for building the golden calf! (Aaron had not been up on Mt Sinai in God’s very presence, as Moses had been.)

There are other examples given to us from the OT, in which sinners so provoked God that He swore He would never forgive them (e. g. 1Sam. 3:11-14; Isa. 22:12-14).

Even blaspheming the holy Ghost, which Jesus said will never be forgiven, is forgivable if it is committed by sinners who are ignorant of the truth. No one can commit the sin that is always unforgivable unless he belongs to God. But that is not all; he must also know what he is doing is wrong. Paul was a Jew who lived under the Law; he belonged to God. And yet, even though he had been a blasphemer, as he confessed to Timothy, he obtained mercy “because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

God is just. That is why He will forgive any of us who wander from the “strait and narrow way”, if we repent. God has many children today who blaspheme the holy Ghost by testifying that “getting saved” is greater than receiving the holy Ghost baptism, but for the most part, those who commit that transgression have not been “enlightened” by “coming to the knowledge of the truth” and “tasting of the powers of the world to come”. And they are being shown mercy because they are committing that sacrilege, as Paul once did, “ignorantly.”

Please let me know if there remain any questions, Jim. And thanks for this one. It is one question that almost all God’s children ask, at some point in their journey.

Pastor John

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